The map: For your amusement

Gasp! At an avocado. Thrill! To a dog. Shriek! At the Collective Farm Girl monument. Nowadays, says Jane Delmer, there is a theme park for everyone

Vinopolis, London. If you thought wacky theme parks were something only foolish foreigners do, get ready for a new London theme park dedicated entirely to wine. Vinopolis will present "all the pleasures of wine under one roof". Experience the best Italian vintages while sitting on a miniature Vespa, or sample the delights of France in a 2CV filled with flowers. But you'll have to wait - it's not open until 29 June.

Santa's Village and Sportsland, Bracebridge, Ontario, Canada. Concerned that Santa may be overworking himself in Lapland, the kindly citizens of Bracebridge decided to build him a summer holiday home in 1955. Thanks to them you can now enjoy seasonal spirit all year round at this Christmas-in-the-summertime theme park. There are no real reindeer (as they prefer a cooler climate), but there are some imported fallow deer instead. Open summer season only.

Dollywood, Smoky Mountain, US. Tennessee's number-one tourist attraction dedicated to the Barbara Windsor of country music. Visit the Dolly Parton museum exhibiting 2,000 Dolly-related items or watch Paradise Road, a musical telling the story of the buxom one's journey from down-home gal to international superstardom. If you're hungry, why not treat yourself to some fresh pork rinds fried before indulging in a spot of bluegrass pick'n and sing'n.

Moomin World, Nantaali, Finland. Meet Snork maiden, Moomintroll and all the other characters from Tove Jansson's books brought to life on this tiny Baltic Island. Explore Moominpapa's ship, but don't expect roller coasters or Burger King, as you'll be disappointed. There is no technology or fast food here, just actors who speak only Moomin and hug everyone in sight. Open daily from 6 June to 16 August. Very popular with small children and the Japanese.

Parc Walibi Schtroumpf, Lorraine, France. "To transform dreams into reality", a theme park close to the Belgian border has been dedicated entirely to the Smurfs, those blue gnomes still inexplicably popular on the Continent. Frighteningly, their records have outsold The Beatles and Pink Floyd combined in some countries. Come and spend your Euroschtroumpfs (Smurf money) at the park with the longest wooden roller coaster in Europe. Open from 11 April until 25 October.

Huis ten Bosch, Nagasaki, Japan. A full-sized re-creation of a Dutch city featuring replicas of authentic historical buildings, Huis ten Bosch is, they say, "more nice than your imaginations". Meander down the canals in copies of 17th-century Dutch boats or enjoy the musical show (Bon Voyage de Liefde) staged on an imitation of the eponymous Dutch ship found stranded on the Japanese coast in 1600. Unfortunately you can't go on board.

Dog's Town, Tokyo, Japan. "A place where humans and dogs can link their hearts", this homage to the domestic pooch is incredibly popular with the locals, many of whom could not swing a chihuahua in their tiny city apartments. The Small Dogs Shopping Centre features a dog in every shop window which are let out of their glass cases to perform tricks for the cooing punters. For around pounds 5, you too can fawn over 40 different breeds of hound in this unique doggy theme park.

Exhibition of Economic Achievements (known as VDNKh), Moscow, Russia. Described as a Stalinesque Disneyland, visitors can experience the Soviet state vision on a grandiose scale: 80 pavilions featuring everything from grain to atomic energy stretch over the 578 acres of this Communist fantasy world. See the colossal Worker and Collective Farm Girl monument or even the model electricity power stations of the future. Open seven days a week, entry is free on weekends and holidays.

Splendid China, Shenzhen Bay, China. Shenzhen boasts not one, but three theme parks. Splendid China vaunts all of China's most famous landmarks in miniature - a day here and you won't need to visit the rest of the country. Window of the World does the same for places of interest around the globe - marvel at a tiny Eiffel Tower and Sydney Opera House. And finally there's the China Folk Culture Village, 24 life-size "villages", each dedicated to one of the country's many ethnic minorities.

Tropical Fruit World, Tweed Valley, New South Wales, Australia. Formerly Avocadoland where you could tour avocado orchards, eat avocado ice cream and drink avocado milkshakes, this park has expanded in the past two years to cover all forms of rare and tropical fruit in Australia. Enjoy the views from the rim of the largest volcano in the southern hemisphere or pop across to the World of Horticulture in Coffs Harbour, a theme park dedicated, apparently, to bananas.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Head of Content and PR

    £35000 - £37000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We are 'Changemakers in retail'...

    Recruitment Genius: PHP Developer - Mid / Senior

    £25000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing digital agenc...

    Recruitment Genius: E-commerce Partnerships Manager

    £50000 - £100000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a newly-created partne...

    Recruitment Genius: Senior Project Co-Ordinator - FF&E

    £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior FF&E Project Co-ordinator is re...

    Day In a Page

    No postcode? No vote

    Floating voters

    How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
    Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

    By Reason of Insanity

    Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
    Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

    Power dressing is back

    But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
    Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

    Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

    Caves were re-opened to the public
    'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

    Vince Cable interview

    'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
    Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

    Promises, promises

    But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
    The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

    The death of a Gaza fisherman

    He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
    Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

    Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

    Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
    Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

    The only direction Zayn could go

    We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
    Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

    Spells like teen spirit

    A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
    Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

    If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

    British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
    Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

    Licence to offend in the land of the free

    Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
    From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

    From farm to fork in Cornwall

    One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
    Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

    Robert Parker interview

    The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
    Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

    Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

    We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor